Day 50

Acts 5 & 6

So, you want the church to be like it was in the book of Acts? Does that mean you want Christians who live a lie and you want people to fall over dead in church and you want racially motivated disputes within the church and you want a church that is the subject of vicious rumors and you want to be arrested and beaten for being a Christian? This too is part of the book of Acts. Acts 5 and 6 should deliver you from the naive notion that the early church was always pristine and pure and never a discouraging word was heard and the skies are not cloudy all day. Welcome to a little thing I like to call…REALITY!


(That’s the sound of your fantasy bubble bursting.)

As we move from the Gospels to Acts, we move from discovering the unvarnished Jesus to exploring the unvarnished church. And a varnish that often distorts our concept of Biblical Christianity is the gloss of perfectionism. The church in Acts was far…sometimes really far…from being perfect. Yes, we have Peter and Paul powerfully preaching the truth of the gospel. But we also have Ananias and Sapphira lying to the Holy Spirit. Yes, we have a church where people like Barnabas are sacrificially giving of their finances to meet the needs of the church. But we also have a church full of racial tension between Semitic Jews and Hellenistic Jews. Yes, we have a church that is marked by miracle ministry. But we also have a church where the leaders are publicly slandered and accused by the religious establishment of being blasphemers.

The book of Acts presents us an unvarnished picture of the church. What we see is the church as it really is — the good, the bad and the ugly. The good of miracles and revival. The bad of slander and persecution. The ugly of deceit and dispute. This is the way it is. And there are two simple reasons why we have the bad and ugly mixed with the good when it comes to the church:

1) The devil hasn’t been thrown into the lake of fire yet.

2) The church is made up of people — and people have problems.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find this all terribly encouraging. This is not a typo; I said I find it encouraging. Because the truth is this: The church in Acts really did turn the world upside down and powerfully advance the cause of Christ and they did it despite the attacks of the devil and the weakness of human flesh. So the devil attacks and people are carnal. So what? Jesus is still Lord and the Kingdom is still coming and the Holy Spirit is still poured out and the Gospel is still the truth and the grace of God is still real and miracles still happen and the devil is still defeated and the church is still going to win. No mater what happens we can deal with it, we can overcome it. We can press on and see the work of God accomplished no matter what. Praise the Lord!


In Acts chapter 5 a lot of things happen to the apostles.

They are working miracles and people are getting saved. Praise God!

But then they get thrown in prison. Bummer.

But then an angel lets them out. Praise God!

But then they get arrested again. Bummer.

But then they preach boldly to the Sanhedrin. Praise God!

But then they get beaten. Bummer.

But then they get released. Praise God.

I think that’s the way we approach life too much of the time: Oscillating between “Praise God!” and “Bummer!” depending on our circumstances. We need to mature beyond this. One the greatest signs of real maturity is a consistency in our attitude of praise. We should strive to maintain an attitude of victorious faith and grateful thanksgiving no matter what happens. Because the fact of the matter is that life is filled with devils and trials and we are going to have good times and bad times but Jesus is always Lord and God is always good and we always have a reason to rejoice.

Personally I am inspired to be more like that.

This is what stood out to me the most in my reading from Acts 5 and 6…

And when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded them that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:40-42)

What’s the devil going to do with people like that? They’re unstoppable!

And if we will keep on rejoicing no matter what happens and keep preaching Jesus no matter the cost, we will be unstoppable too!




Last night’s set list…

1. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)
2. Mr. Tambourine Man
3. Down Along The Cove
4. This Wheel’s On Fire
5. Absolutely Sweet Marie
6. Masters Of War
7. Watching The River Flow
8. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
9. Honest With Me
10. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
11. Blind Willie McTell
12. Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
13. Like A Rolling Stone
14. All Along The Watchtower